“Social Justice.” In Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities
Social justice work, as framed here, is an embodied first-person experience with the understanding that we can only change what we can name and can only name what we can experience. There are two key thoughts or frames that guide how social justice is taught and how I have chosen to curate the works included here. First, faculty members must be willing and able to acknowledge our privileges at all levels and access points. Definitional frames for social justice are more fluid than scholars engaged in the study of languages and communication are comfortable. I define social justice pedagogy as “pedagogy engaged in the equitable creation of teaching and learning spaces where socially constructed identities are equitably presented, valued, and involved in the building and maintenance of society.” This definition starts with the frame that society, as currently configured, is not equitable. Rather, privilege is the social force guiding social interaction. To create a socially just space, we must name privileges. For faculty members, this means we must recognize and engage in simple truths about our institutional privileges. Research-one institutions afford different access points in socially liberal states than those in socially conservative states. Private institutions may invest in technology at various rates, unlike a public university where technology is a primary focus. Alongside institutional privileges are positional privileges of faculty members at different teaching levels. It may be true that the act of teaching social justice theory is revolutionary on a university campus that does not hold equity or equality as a principal tenant of its mission or lived practice. For those teaching with the protection of tenure, at the rank of full professor, it may be easier to teach revolution and practice equity within classrooms; however, a non-tenured colleague may not find it comfortable to teach the same content.